MARCH 8, 2017 – The DOT has concluded that there is no “net benefit” to the overnight restart rule.
After a lengthy review of the restart rule requirements, which were introduced in 2013, the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found no evidence that the restart provisions, which were suspended in December 2014, are beneficial to driver safety. As a result, both the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. requirement and the once-a-week limit will be removed from the hours of service regulations.
The study was designed to measure and compare the fatigue and safety performance levels of more than 220 participating truck drivers in a naturalistic environment while using two difference versions of the HOS restart provisions (the 1-day and 2-day rest periods). It was collected from multiple sources from Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to smartphone-based self-reporting questionnaires. The study looked at this information compared to safety critical events (e.g. crashes, near-crashes and crash-related conflicts) and operator fatigue and health.
On March 2, in a letter to the new Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, the OIG agreed with the DOT’s conclusion that “the study did not explicitly identify a net benefit from the use of the two suspended provisions of the restart rule on driver operations, safety, fatigue and health.”
The DOT study’s full results have not yet been made public and the DOT is in the final stages of reviewing the study before sending it along to Congress.